Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press, Small Gems

Small Gem – Clouds’ Illusions by Hayden Thorne

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
~ “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


I’m not sure if it was Hayden Thorne’s intent to bring to mind this Longfellow poem when she wrote this story, but it came nonetheless.

Filled with awe and wonder and dismay and despair and ultimately, hope, Clouds’ Illusions is a surreal tale which follows a young boy, Simon, as he wends his way through a carnival, clinging to the lone remaining symbol of his childhood—the one thing that remains a tangible reminder of home, family, and safety.

The carnival itself, along with the heavy clouds and torrential downpours that allow only small glimpses of the promise of the sun, represent the discord between the innocence of childhood and the flood of conflicts that arise as Simon grows, transforming from boy, to young adult, then to adult, becoming lost and isolated from his family along the way, as he discovers that his sexuality will be the key to separating him from everything that at one time had meant love and security for him—surreal yet sadly familiar.

But as the Longfellow poem alludes to, in every life there must be rain, for if there is never gray, how will we ever learn to appreciate all the colors that brighten the world? If there is never darkness, how will we ever learn to appreciate the light?

As Simon emerges from the cacophony of trials and tribulations he’s experienced on his journey through life, we see that, in the end, he was never truly alone. He merely needed to find his way back, and that way led him to the man who’d helped Simon discover who he was meant to be and to a new family that redefined home and love.

There is a dreamlike quality to this story, as it fractures the concepts of time and reality, and it does so vividly. The imagery is at once monochromatic, then given to full and vibrant Technicolor pictures that worked beautifully to paint this picture.

Buy Clouds’ Illusion HERE.

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